Thoughts on Neutering?
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  1. #1
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    My MAS Jude is now 10 months old! He's about 18" and 40 lbs., larger than both sire and dam. He's on a limited contract with the AKC and me and his breeder agreed he should be neutered after 2 years old. However, my friend and professional dog trainer was suggesting getting him neutered as soon as we can because he's become a very nervous and aggressive dog despite nonstop exposure since 8 weeks. His aggression is not exclusive to male dogs, it's for anything and everything in his way when he's out of his comfort zone. He's uncomfortable in his own skin and she was suggesting neutering could give him a more relaxed and approachable demeanor.
    However, I've been reading and reading and have heard so much that conflicts. I've heard neutering makes them more fearful since testosterone boosts confidence. I've heard neutering will make him more aggressive and heard the exact opposite. I'm not sure what's true or not because all the info has come from vet blogs. I legally have to get him neutered at some point, but my question is whether or not **in your experience** neutering impacts temperament. Thanks!
    Last edited by Affirmed; 02-14-2017 at 05:55 PM.

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    Also to clarify this is NOT a substitute for a vet - I'll ask his vet soon & have home weighed. I'm asking for experienced owners to share their personal experience with the subject.

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    Senior Member Shell's Avatar
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    Re: Thoughts on Neutering?

    I have not observed or read anything to indicate that neutering will "fix" fear or aggression, excepting if it is specific to having an altered male and unaltered male in the same house basically.

    Marking isn't strictly a fixed or unfixed thing nor strictly a male dog thing although males do seem to mark more. Humping is mostly excitement behavior.

    Fixing a dog or not and at what age is a very controversial and personal topic overall. I'd suggest doing your research more into any health issues rather than into behavioral issues since behavior is much more often a training thing or just a plain old innate trait of the dog while health is something that cannot be trained. You have a contract, it has a reasonable time frame for him to grow up and develop,; personally, I'd stick with that game plan for around 2 years old but he isn't my dog.

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    See that's what I was thinking. If I had my way I probably wouldn't get him neutered period. (Unless his health depended on it) Jude doesn't mark and doesn't hump because all of our females are spayed. From what I've read neutering doesn't help with any aggression other than intact male on male aggression over females in heat.

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    Senior Member Canyx's Avatar
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    Re: Thoughts on Neutering?

    I don't think the behaviors are a neutering issue... But you might want to consult with a behaviorist.

    Soro the lab mutt - approximate birthday: April 22 2006

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    Re: Thoughts on Neutering?

    Neutering a dog for aggression or anxiety is working on the wrong end of the dog.

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    Senior Member PatriciafromCO's Avatar
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    Re: Thoughts on Neutering?

    despite nonstop exposure since 8 weeks. this can be over done and create issues... quality over quantity. My dogs get very little exposure , they sit in the vehicle watching and listening to the commotion around them in town while I am running errons, no contact with anything.. It may be 3 months before it's their turn again. It may be 3 months before I stop at the feed store or the car shop before I take them out to hang out while I am doing what I need to do or to just sit around and talk to people also coming there in and out. And they fine.

    altering to me is about 100% never reproducing... I prefer to keep them intact and manage keeping them from reproducing...

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    Yes I'm unsure if his current issues were caused by being overwhelmed or if it's just him. Learned after buying him that his dam has a bite record. I met his dam and she acted like a pretty good aussie - barked when we arrived but friendly after her owner greeted us. He first showed aggression at about 9 weeks, when my niece wanted to pet him but he wasn't happy about it. I'm sure that people forcing their attention on him against my wishes contributed greatly. I was too friendly about it and didn't speak up about not wanting them to touch him unless he was initiating contact first. Either way it's gotta be trained out now and I'm even more sure now after your responses that neutering won't do anything to help. I'll stick with my 2 year plan unless something very unexpected happens or he has testicular issues. Thank you all!

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    Senior Member Canyx's Avatar
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    Re: Thoughts on Neutering?

    There are a lot of red flags in what you described and you seem to be aware of them all. I would recommend finding a positive reinforcement based trainer with experience in fear and reactivity, or a behaviorist, and going from there. It would be money well spent.

    Soro the lab mutt - approximate birthday: April 22 2006

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    I'm planning on it. He and I need a specialist who has dealt with dogs like him before. I can teach some obedience and manners, but I can't fix this all by myself. If we can get him confident and safe in public I'd love to enter him in herding and coursing.

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    Re: Thoughts on Neutering?

    and you could check his full thyroid... it has been my current topic of reading individual cases about.. low thyroid doesn't always have to go on medication , could also be something is missing in their nutrition.. it is an interesting subject.

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    Quote Originally Posted by PatriciafromCO View Post
    and you could check his full thyroid... it has been my current topic of reading individual cases about.. low thyroid doesn't always have to go on medication , could also be something is missing in their nutrition.. it is an interesting subject.
    That's a good idea thank you

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    Re: Thoughts on Neutering?

    I can only speak to the behaviors neutering changed for me personally. I have a two year old male Doberman. He was never really aggressive other than having a slight aggression around food or treats but only towards my other dog other than that never aggressive. I was pretty sure he was part alligator as would chew anything and everything if left alone with it for more than 20 minutes. But the main problem I had which drove me to neuter him was wandering and escaping. I never intended to neuter him - at least not until his later years when he would be more at risk for prostate and testicular problems. Anyways I had always had a certain opinion of people who couldn't manage to contain their dogs until this dude hit maturity. We have spent thousands on fencing and no matter what we do he escaped. I tried a shock system in the areas he was getting out and he would blow right through it. We back onto a river and he would escape into the river and literally swim up steam to get around the fence. It came to a head one day when my husband had to retrieve him for the third time that day and it was clear we couldn't keep doing this so I decided to neuter him as a last ditch effort. What I got was a new dog. I wouldn't have previously attributed his new behavior to neutering but I can't help but notice the instant change. He has not attempted escape since. He has stopped chewing - in fact he now has free reign of the house while we are at work and hasn't had a single slip up. He still tried to steal the other dogs food but not aggressively now. And where before, it was hard to have him just relax in the house as he acted like he was on a pre-workout 24/7, now he is still full of energy but comes in the house and chills out. As crazy as he drove my husband, my husband was dead set against neutering though as not a dog guy it was mostly just for superficial "man" reasons, I on the other hand researched and weighed pros and cons since we got him. We both now are seeing the benefits and happy with the decision. Anyways like I said- I'm no expert and can only speak to my own experience. But for us it was a good decision. I am happy though that I waited until age two and let him get all the physical benefits of maturing first.


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    Senior Member Hiraeth's Avatar
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    Re: Thoughts on Neutering?

    Quote Originally Posted by BarnesDobies View Post
    I can only speak to the behaviors neutering changed for me personally. I have a two year old male Doberman. He was never really aggressive other than having a slight aggression around food or treats but only towards my other dog other than that never aggressive. I was pretty sure he was part alligator as would chew anything and everything if left alone with it for more than 20 minutes. But the main problem I had which drove me to neuter him was wandering and escaping. I never intended to neuter him - at least not until his later years when he would be more at risk for prostate and testicular problems. Anyways I had always had a certain opinion of people who couldn't manage to contain their dogs until this dude hit maturity. We have spent thousands on fencing and no matter what we do he escaped. I tried a shock system in the areas he was getting out and he would blow right through it. We back onto a river and he would escape into the river and literally swim up steam to get around the fence. It came to a head one day when my husband had to retrieve him for the third time that day and it was clear we couldn't keep doing this so I decided to neuter him as a last ditch effort. What I got was a new dog. I wouldn't have previously attributed his new behavior to neutering but I can't help but notice the instant change. He has not attempted escape since. He has stopped chewing - in fact he now has free reign of the house while we are at work and hasn't had a single slip up. He still tried to steal the other dogs food but not aggressively now. And where before, it was hard to have him just relax in the house as he acted like he was on a pre-workout 24/7, now he is still full of energy but comes in the house and chills out. As crazy as he drove my husband, my husband was dead set against neutering though as not a dog guy it was mostly just for superficial "man" reasons, I on the other hand researched and weighed pros and cons since we got him. We both now are seeing the benefits and happy with the decision. Anyways like I said- I'm no expert and can only speak to my own experience. But for us it was a good decision. I am happy though that I waited until age two and let him get all the physical benefits of maturing first.


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    Not all testosterone is removed from the dog after the testicles are gone, it's just that testosterone production halts. Any testosterone in the blood stream is still present. It takes about two weeks for approximately half of the testosterone present to leave the system, and then another half in another two weeks, and then another half in two weeks, and then the rest slowly dissipates as the "shelf life" expires.

    So, in other words, there is zero immediate change in a dog after neutering that is a hormone-based change. Observed changes can be a result of the residual trauma from the surgery, discomfort from the sutures, or they can even be caused by unconscious changes in the owners as a result of knowing the dog is now neutered.

    I think many of the changes you've seen in your case are maturity, and not hormonally, based. You neutered right around the time most male dogs really settle, so the decrease in chewing, guarding, and the increase in relaxing, are all very likely mostly due to his age, and not due to his testicle-lessness.

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    Re: Thoughts on Neutering?

    Quote Originally Posted by Hiraeth View Post
    Not all testosterone is removed from the dog after the testicles are gone, it's just that testosterone production halts. Any testosterone in the blood stream is still present. It takes about two weeks for approximately half of the testosterone present to leave the system, and then another half in another two weeks, and then another half in two weeks, and then the rest slowly dissipates as the "shelf life" expires.

    So, in other words, there is zero immediate change in a dog after neutering that is a hormone-based change. Observed changes can be a result of the residual trauma from the surgery, discomfort from the sutures, or they can even be caused by unconscious changes in the owners as a result of knowing the dog is now neutered.

    I think many of the changes you've seen in your case are maturity, and not hormonally, based. You neutered right around the time most male dogs really settle, so the decrease in chewing, guarding, and the increase in relaxing, are all very likely mostly due to his age, and not due to his testicle-lessness.
    I am aware of these things and we are at the 6 week mark since neutering however I can't deny the removal of his desire to escape and his relaxed nature. So either neutering had some effect or I neutered him on the exact month he hit maturity. That's why I said I'm no expert but I do believe there are times when you can do all the scientific research in the world but also have to take into account self observation.


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    Re: Thoughts on Neutering?

    Quote Originally Posted by BarnesDobies View Post
    I am aware of these things and we are at the 6 week mark since neutering however I can't deny the removal of his desire to escape and his relaxed nature. So either neutering had some effect or I neutered him on the exact month he hit maturity. That's why I said I'm no expert but I do believe there are times when you can do all the scientific research in the world but also have to take into account self observation.


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    Someone just said this on another group of mine, and it's very relevant here: The plural of anecdote is not data. Only scientifically derived data is data.

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    Re: Thoughts on Neutering?

    I doubt neutering will fix your issues. My dog was neutered at 5 months old by the rescue, so I don't know what he was like before then, but he still does all the things many people say neutering is supposed to fix. Still humps when he gets too excited, gets excited about a female in heat, marks, and acts like a bratty adolescent in general. He's 1.5 years. He would probably wander, too, if we let him but our fence is secure. Although one time the ice built up under our fence gate and pushed it up so the latch came undone, and he went next door and jumped in the neighbor's pickup with him, lol. We found Ralphie sitting on his lap and licking his face.

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    Re: Thoughts on Neutering?

    Quote Originally Posted by Hiraeth View Post
    Someone just said this on another group of mine, and it's very relevant here: The plural of anecdote is not data. Only scientifically derived data is data.
    If someone asks for an "opinion" or others "experiences" they are just that. Opinions and experiences. The original poster themselves said that they planned to consult their veterinarian but wanted to know others opinions and experiences. Never once did I claim my experiences to be scientific. I shared my opinion and experience as was solicited. I am sorry that you feel the need to correct and interject in people's experiences of which you have not taken part in. I didn't realize you possessed the title of DVM. This is a place for friendly discussion and the sharing of experience, opinion and knowledge. You've interjected your "scientifically derived data" on my shared experience. Point taken. It doesn't change my experience any more than it changes your opinion. If you want to debate the matter further you'll have to find someone else. I simply offered my story.


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    Re: Thoughts on Neutering?

    Desexing is not a solution to dramatic behavior issues nor a substitute for training, and given the age at which spay/neuter usually happens, there's often a causation/correlation issue with more general maturity. All that said...reproductive drive affects behavior and sex hormones affect reproductive drive. It's not unreasonable to expect that one could see behavior changes as a result of spaying/neutering.

    There's also this: only dogs with the very best temperaments should reproduce, so it's not a terrible idea to desex a dog that has behavior issues.
    Last edited by parus; 02-16-2017 at 06:40 PM.

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    Re: Thoughts on Neutering?

    Quote Originally Posted by BarnesDobies View Post
    If someone asks for an "opinion" or others "experiences" they are just that. Opinions and experiences. The original poster themselves said that they planned to consult their veterinarian but wanted to know others opinions and experiences. Never once did I claim my experiences to be scientific. I shared my opinion and experience as was solicited. I am sorry that you feel the need to correct and interject in people's experiences of which you have not taken part in. I didn't realize you possessed the title of DVM. This is a place for friendly discussion and the sharing of experience, opinion and knowledge. You've interjected your "scientifically derived data" on my shared experience. Point taken. It doesn't change my experience any more than it changes your opinion. If you want to debate the matter further you'll have to find someone else. I simply offered my story.
    I never claimed to be a DVM (and actually, most DVMs aren't overly educated in canine behavior).

    You've shared experiences. I've shared knowledge about your experience that will potentially stop someone from extrapolating your experience into scientific fact and making the decision to alter their dog with problem behavior based on that.

    If you stick around this forum, you will find that many people disagree with your opinions. There are certainly many people here who disagree with mine. And when they disagree, they comment and say so. Getting combative or defensive, and then walking away, is not the way to foster an environment in which people share or learn.

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